|Trip to the 6 Miles Tunnel (17-1-2006)
The limestone hills around Ipoh are littered with caves. One of them, Gua Tempurung, is a Show Cave, worth a visit. Several of them have been transformed in Chinese Cave Temples.
And then there is the 6 Miles Tunnel.
A report of a trip to this cave/tunnel with Liz Price, aka Caving Liz, as my guide....
So. after breakfast in Tapah, we headed for Tambun, near Ipoh
Somewhere here should be the entrance of the cave.
In the opposite direction you can see the famous Needle Rock.
The situation has changed a lot over the years. Liz is wondering if this is where we should start.
The main difficulty of the 6-Miles Tunnel is how to reach the entrance. In earlier days you had to wade/swim to the end of a swampy lotus pond, a distance of a few hundred meters. But now Liz discovered that the swamp had almost completely been land-filled. The reason is that this part of Tambun is where the mega-project "Sunway City" is being developed, so a lot of "landscaping" takes place.
For me it was a relief, but Liz confessed later that she would have liked to see me struggle with the mud.... hmmm...
Liz is trying to find a way to the entrance of the cave
But she fails, the mud was almost like quicksand
By keeping close to the edge of the swamp, we managed to reach the entrance to the cave.
The 6 Miles Tunnel fortunately is not that long! According to my GPS, the length of the cave is about 700 meter. The tunnel follows the a small stream which has, throughout the ages, eroded a passage through the limestone rocks. In the tin mining area, first half of the last century, the passage has been widened by blasting. Would be interesting to find out for what purpose.
At several place in the tunnel, the water level is quite high. Better not to think about what happens here in case of flash flooding...
The whole tunnel is bat territory. Insect bats live here in large quantities.
It was clear that they were not happy with our presence.
Beautiful creatures. Why are so many people afraid of them?
The photographer and a bat on collision course. It seems that they do not always use their sonar system when they are in familiar surroundings. Several times I felt them brush my face!
A part of the cave that has been widened by blasting. To the right a red paint mark still can be seen.
A large part of the cave is still natural. In several places stalactites are still being formed. And there is even a small waterfall halfway the tunnel. But light conditions made it impossible to take pictures of it.
Liz, illuminating stalactite formation with her carbide headlamp.
The birth of new stalactites
In other parts of the cave, you can still see how the stream has eroded itself downwards.
It took us about one hour to cross the cave. Although I am not claustrophobic, the daylight came as a relief. The exit of the cave leads to a so-called "wang", an enclosure surrounded by cliffs. So we had to go the same way back.
Daylight. The end of the tunnel.
In the "wang" we found beautiful ginger flowers.
This torch ginger is supposed to be a domestic variety. But who planted it then in this isolated place?
One of Liz' shoes had not survived the confrontation with the mud swamp.
Ready to go back. The wang is to the left and the entrance of the tunnel to the right.
Quite near to the entrance we found this frog, not a cave frog, according to Liz. Hmm.. I must have forgotten to turn on the "red eye" option, when I took this picture.
The way back was very relaxed, because we knew the way now. So we took time to admire the stalactite formations, we saw some spiders, a turtle and some nice fngus.
Beautiful fungus. Looks like an abstract picture of a running man.
Large curtains of stalagtites.
Keep your head low! 1. To protect your head 2. Not to damage the environment
Almost back. The water level is high in this part, forcing us to carry our backpacks on our shoulders
Wet and dirty, but thoroughly satisfied. We made it!
Of course we still had to wade back to solid ground. But when you are wet and dirty already,this is a lot easier than when you start!
That was the end of a very nice and rewarding trip. Very different from waterfall hunting.
And you need an experienced guide!
Thanks a lot, Liz.